“All is forgiven,” Mr. Kenny De Ketele.
After the two and four lap finale debacles of Gent and Rotterdam the Belgian former World Champion finally served us up a proper, entertaining final chase in the Bremen Six Day 2018; five teams were all in with realistic podium chances going into the closing 60 minute chase and the winning move only came late in the day.
De Ketele, partnered by Germany’s Theo Reinhardt, had looked ominously strong all week, opening and closing big gaps with ease whenever the need arose.
The physicality, bobbing shoulders in particular, of his younger days has gone – solid in the saddle and smooth as a Cancellara motorised acceleration he looks the part 100%.
Our man, Achim Burkart, partnered by Dutch strongman Yoeri Havik lead into the last 60 minutes but even without a crash damaged shoulder, the young German and experienced Dutchman would have struggled to beat the ‘men in black.’
Third spot went to Danish/German duo of Jesper Morkov & Christian Grasmann.
As Mørkøv said; ‘we’re two big diesels and just don’t have the jump that riders like Kenny have.’
Just off the podium were France’s World Madison Champion, Morgan Kneisky partnered by Aussie, Leigh Howard who’s no stranger to a rainbow jersey himself.
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But let’s turn the clock back to Sunday…
He’s OK but scratch his second 60 Euro Conti in two days and those beautiful, fast red, aero shoes look like they’ve been chewed by a ‘gator – and that’s before we look at the lump out of crash hat.
It happened in the first Devil of the day, everyone wakens up after that one.
There was, of course much debate after the spill and the blame went round in a circle until everyone got bored.
Sunday, with it’s early start and early finish is ‘media’ day – it would be easy to pretend that Theo Reinhardt’s interview was being conducted in a coal mine, with the dark, low ceilings and timber supports.
Leigh Howard, coming from Oz and the great outdoors prefers to do his talking out in the open but leans on the banking to emphasise it’s steepness – a ‘wall of death’ 58 degrees, according to the programme.
To make up for his crash, Achim won the Madison with Yoeri – more flowers in the cabin, always nice.
Achim is a man in demand with the local radio visiting the cabin then the TV guys grabbing him on the way out.
Even more flowers now – with our boy Moritz and his amigo, young Freuler winning the devil.
I can’t remember if it was Grasmann/Mørkøv or Stroetinga/Ghys won the last Madison – so we’ve published pictures of both so as not to cause offence.
There was the sun streaming in the windows; and the race was finished – all’s well in the world.
And there was even Parmesan with the pasta…
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And we’re back in the lead!
But it’s very tight with as many as five teams potentially worth a podium in this entertaining bike race.
The first chase was a sore one for Achim, he damaged the muscles and tendons in his shoulder in yesterday’s crash but showed real grinta, refusing to be neutralised or ‘hide’ in the chase – respect.
Grasmann and Mørkøv take the first chase.
The Dernys – lots of noise and, erm, someone won it.
A la Grenoble Six Days of a year or two ago – where cabaret was a big deal – the organisation had a trio of gymnasts put on a show in the track centre during one of the breaks; it went down well – preposterously strong men.
Time for tears as multi Worlds sprint medallist Rene Enders called ‘time’ on a career which started with a bronze medal in the German novice’s 500 metre time trial back in 2003 and ended with silver medals in the individual and team sprint national champs just last year.
Along the way there were Junior World, European and World Elite titles in the team sprint and two Olympic bronzes in the sam